Bedse Caves, situated in the Pune district of Maharashtra at Maval taluka comprises of two main caves: Chaitya or a prayer hall housing a large stupa and a Vihara or the monastery. While it is not as popular as Bhaja Caves and Kalra Caves in the vicinity, it’s a must-visit for those interested in Buddhism.
Back in the day, the Buddhist monks lived in these viharas to shield themselves from rain; hence, they slowly came to be known as the Rain Caves. The entrance to the caves is adorned with sculptures of horse, bull, elephant and some deities. Apart from the two major caves, the complex houses several small caves and a cave solely built for the purpose of meditation. These caves have water tanks beneath them to provide a natural cooling effect.
Dating back to the 1st-century, Bedse Caves was constructed during the reign of Ashoka. After the Kalinga War, Ashoka was so grief-stricken and filled with remorse that he decided to walk on the path of non-violence and ahimsa. To atone for his sins, Ashoka embraced Buddhism and built numerous Buddhist monasteries for praying; and Bedse Caves was one of them.
It’s highly recommended that you visit Bedse Caves during monsoons; the lush greenery all around is an added bonus. Also, try visiting the caves early morning when the sunlight is said to enhance the beauty of the carvings. Bedse Caves can be reached by road from Pune; it takes 1.5 hours/ 54 km to reach. The best way to reach is from Kamshet to Pavananagar and finally make way to Bedse. The closest airport as well as rail-head is in Pune.
If you want to couple your trip to Bedse Caves with some gorgeous forts in the area, you can choose from Visapur, Lohagad, Tikona and Tung forts adjacent to the Pawna Dam.